Could you tell me if there is any difference in meaning between do something in one's own time and do something on one's own time? For example, in the 12th episode of the 10th season of Friends, Monica said the latter. Here is the context:

Mike: Do I have a minute to go to the bathroom?

Monica: You had a bathroom break at 2030. Pee on your own time, Mike! (to Phoebe and Mike). Now, in regard to the toast, okay, you wanna keep them short, nothing kills a rehearsal dinner like long speeches. Okay. You just get in, do your thing and get out!

Would the meaning somehow change if she said in your own time?

  • 2
    In British English "do something in your own time" means "do it at your own pace or speed, there's no deadline or big hurry", whereas "do it on your own time" means "don't do it during your working hours, when your employer is paying you to do job related things" Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 17:54

2 Answers 2


When you're working, it's slang to say you're "on the clock".

I can't go for a beer now, I'm on the clock.

To do something "on your own time" generally means to do something when you're not being paid by an employer. It's usually used negatively as Monica did in that episode.

If the boss caught you having a beer they could say

Have a beer on your own time, you're on the clock!

You can do something "in your spare time" like learn to draw or go for a bike ride. But in the context you give, Monica wouldn't say "Pee in your own time". That doesn't make sense.

  • I like the first half of your answer. Like Michael Harvey has stated, doing something “in” your own time usually means to do it at your own pace. So, to “pee in your own time” would mean to pee as quickly or as slowly as you would like. Do it in the amount of time that you see fit.
    – Dean F.
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 20:41

The two locutions have quite different meanings.

Do X in your own time

means to do X at any time you find convenient.

Do X on your own time

means to do X at some time other than when you are being paid (or legitimately expected) to be doing Y.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .